RUMRA - 22 September 2015

Conference of the RUMRA Intergroup - 22 September 2015 - Brussels
Rural territories in the policies of cohesion and inclusive growth

There was standing room only on 22 September for the first event of the European Parliament Intergroup on Rural, Mountainous and Remote Areas (RUMRA) devoted to the role of rural areas in inclusion and territorial cohesion policies. European Countryside Movement's call for a White paper on rurality , presented during this conference, have won supporters.

150922-salle.jpg As Gérard Peltre, president of both R.E.D. and the European Countryside Movement, made clear: "It's not palliative care that regions are expecting, it's recognition!  This potential for creativity and innovation is considerable, but their contribution to the goals of the Europe 2020 strategy is underused. Those territories, which included cities and periurban areas, should therefore be recognized as poles of development and innovation in a balanced relationship with the urban poles".

The RUMRA chair, Mercedes Bresso, states that "We should not consider rural areas as merely agricultural ones, we know that other enormous opportunities have to be exploited in those areas".

Participants widely shared this analyse which drew a wholly positive echo from the commissioner in charge of EU rural and urban policy, Corina Crețu. She pointed out that properly balanced rural-urban relations were a strong strand in her policy adding: "Rural areas are part of the solution".

In his welcoming address, Anthony Buchanan (UK/EA), vice-chairman of the natural resources (NAT) commission of the Committee of the Regions, voiced his keen interest in asking the Commission to produce a White Paper on Rurality that would serve as the basis for discussion in drawing up rural development policy post 2020.

Closing the conference, Franc Bogovič, RUMRA vice-chair, added his support for the call of the international organisations in the European Countryside Movement for a White Paper on Rurality.

Clearly, the White Paper on Rurality was seen as a focal point for the many stakeholders present and a necessary step on the road to making European policies after 2020 better suited to the dynamics of rural areas.

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